Bass Creek Trail

Missoula, Montana 59804

Bass Creek Trail

Bass Creek Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Bass Lake is nestled in the upper forested slopes of Bass Peak. Bass Creek cascades down the canyon from the lake, dropping more than 3,000 feet over seven miles. The 93-acre lake and creek are named for D.C. Bass, a settler along the creek in the 1 860s. He built Montana’s first irrigation ditch and operated one of the original sawmills in Montana. The Bass Creek Trail follows the watercourse from the Charles Waters Campground near the valley floor up to Bass Lake at 6,765 feet. The trail is along an abandoned road used to build the dam at Bass Lake in the 1 890s. The first section of the Bass Creek Trail is an easy hike that gains elevation gradually, paralleling Bass Creek along a continuous series of whitewater cascades, small waterfalls, and pools. This hike heads 1 .5 miles into the canyon to an old log dam. Behind the dam is a large, clear pond. For a longer hike, the trail continues west along Bass Creek into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. The trail climbs the canyon’s north wall for an additional 5.5 miles to Bass Lake, en route gaining 3,000 feet."

Bass Creek Trail Reviews

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There is not much info on this hike on the internet which was frustrating when I was researching, so I figured I would give some specifics.

We hiked from the trailhead to the waterfall. I used GPS, a Fitbit, a mileage watch and an altimeter to log in distances and elevation gain.

2 miles and approximately 700 vertical feet from the trailhead, you will reach the log jam. The next 1/2 mile has virtually no elevation gain. At 2.54 miles you reach the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness boundary sign.

At 2.95 miles you will reach a fork in the trail. Take the fork to the right(if go straight you will have to cross the stream) to view the waterfall. You will hear the waterfall after another 1/4 mile. It is viewed on the right, at an elevation of roughly 4,800 feet.

Total elevation gain to the waterfall is about 900 feet-a very easy hike spread out over 3.3 miles. You can continue on the trail which connects with the other fork(4.5 miles) eventually on its way to Bass Lake.

From the waterfall, it is another 4.7 miles to Bass Lake, with another 2,250 of altitude gain. The lake sits at an altitude of 7,050. If going in the winter, you will need snowshoes once you pass the waterfall, if not sooner.

The hike to the waterfall will take you about 90 minutes. The views are amazing with the waterfall on your right, and Sawtooth Peak toward your left.



Bass Creek Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
1.5 hours
U.S.G.S. Saint Mary Peak and Saint Joseph Peak
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018